In the Heat of the Night (film)

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In the Heat of the Night is a 1967 film about a black police detective from Philadelphia, who becomes involved in a murder investigation in a racist small town in Mississippi.

Directed by Norman Jewison. Written by Stirling Silliphant, based on the 1965 John Ball novel.
They call me Mister Tibbs!taglines

Virgil Tibbs[edit]

  • Now listen, hear me good mama. Please. Don't make me have to send you to jail... There's white time in jail and there's colored time in jail. The worst kind of time you can do is colored time.

Chief Gillespie[edit]

  • I try to run a nice, clean, safe town here. A town where a man can sneeze and not get his brains beat out. You follow me?
  • [on telephone to Tibbs' chief] I do want to thank you for offering such a powerful piece of manpower as Virgil Tibbs.
  • Just once in my life, I'm gonna own my temper. I'm telling you that you're gonna stay here. You're gonna stay here if I have to go inside and call your chief of police and have him remind you of what he told you to do. But I don't think I have to do that, you see? No, because you're so damn smart. You're smarter than any white man. You're just gonna stay here and show us all. You've got such a big head that you could never live with yourself unless you could put us all to shame. You wanna know something, Virgil? I don't think that you could let an opportunity like that pass by.


Gillespie: Got a name, boy?
Tibbs: Virgil Tibbs.
Gillespie: [Laughing] I don't think we're going to have any trouble, are we, Virgil?
Tibbs: No trouble at all.

Gillespie: Whatcha hit him with?
Tibbs: Hit whom?
Gillespie: "Whom"? "Whom"? Well, you a northern boy? What's a Northern boy like you doing all the way down here?
Tibbs: I was waiting for the train.
Gillespie: There ain't no trains this time in the morning.
Tibbs: Tuesdays only 4:05 to Memphis.
Gillespie: You say. [train horn blowing] Well, alright. You say right.

Gillespie: Colored can't earn that kind of money [a few hundred dollars], boy. Hell, that's more than I earn in a month. Now where did you earn it?
Tibbs: Philadelphia.
Gillespie: Mississippi?
Tibbs: Pennsylvania.
Gillespie: Just what do you do up there to earn that kind of money?
Tibbs: I'm a police officer.
Gillespie: How much they pay you to do their police work?
Tibbs: A hundred and sixty-two dollars, and thirty-nine cents per week.
Gillespie: A hundred and sixty-two dollars and thirty-nine cents a week? Well boy! Sam, you take him outside but treat him nice, because a man that makes a hundred and sixty-two dollars and thirty-nine cents a week, we do not want to ruffle him!

Mrs. Colbert: I came by to make it as clear as I possibly can: that I do not want the Negro officer taken off this case.
Mayor Schubert: Negro officer?
Gillespie: Yeah, well he, uh... he comes from up North, you see, and he was, uh, kinda... passing through...
Mrs. Colbert: I don't care what he is. If it wasn't for him, your impartial chief of police would still have the wrong man behind bars. I want that officer given a free hand, otherwise I will pack up my husband's engineers... and leave you... to yourselves.

Gillespie: Well you're pretty sure of yourself, ain't you, Virgil? Virgil—that's a funny name for a nigger boy that comes from Philadelphia! What do they call you up there?
Tibbs: They call me Mr. Tibbs!
Gillespie: "Mr. Tibbs"? Well Mr. Wood, take Mr. Tibbs, take him down to the depot, and I mean boy right now!

[upon the suggestion that he may have murdered Colbert, Endicott slaps Tibbs across the face. Tibbs promptly slaps him back. Endicott is shocked]
Endicott: Gillespie?
Gillespie: Yeah.
Endicott: You saw it.
Gillespie: I saw it.
Endicott: Well, what are you gonna do about it?
Gillespie: I don't know.
Endicott: I'll remember that. [to Tibbs] There was a time when I could've had you shot.

Mayor Schubert: Bill... what's made you change your mind about Tibbs?
Gillespie: Who says I have?
Mayor Schubert: Last Chief we had... he'd have shot Tibbs one second after he slapped Endicott, claim self-defense.

Gillespie: [regarding Sam Wood's status as a suspect] We have the motive which is money, and the body which is dead!
Tibbs: Sam didn't kill Colbert!
Gillespie: What makes you so sure?
Tibbs: Because Colbert was killed HERE, driven back to town in his own car and dumped on the street. Sam couldn't have driven two cars!

Gillespie: Boy, it would give me a world of satisfaction to horse whip you, Virgil.
Tibbs: [laughing] My father used to say that. He even did a couple of times.


  • They call me Mister Tibbs!
  • They got a murder on their hands... they don't know what to do with it.
  • They're going to pin something on that smart cop from Philadelphia... maybe a medal... maybe a murder!


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